A Scientists Mind #3
Success, throwbacks, and a split heart
What is success? - Publishing a manuscript? Getting a Project Funded? Gaining your PhD? I do not believe in such rather materialistic measures. But what then? – for me, success is being happy! That is because I am not worried about my productivity and output, but I am very worried how I feel along that way. I tend to put too many things on my shoulders, try to please others, feeling like I owe something to others. Definitely not the healthiest attitude. But recently, and especially when being able to travel to the field again and be there with the whole crew, I felt surprisingly content! Even relaxed, despite a large amount of fieldwork still to be done! =)
I am still trying to figure out why that is, but I think I know the answer: Things are just flowing! My PhD students Kathi and Malkin are growing and take responsibility, Alberto got the DAAD Fellowship and MSc student Mareike seems to become an integral part of the team as well. In the field, everyone knows what’s to do next, we help each other, support when something fails and encourage when there are difficult times. I couldn’t be happier with this team! And this, despite working like the MoFo’s, even on weekends! It just makes me happy to see that my strategy of supervision and leading the group works: Keep your team happy and everything will work out! Sounds simple, but is not. I have always looked at how my team-members are feeling and cared for that. I never had any concern regarding the scientific quality of my members, but I did not want them to go through the rough science business losing themselves or changing so much in a way that they become research machines! A PhD is not about developing tunnel-vision, forgetting everything and everyone around you and get so stressed that you are on the edge of a burnout. The scientific growth has to be accompanied by personal growth as well, and this is what is often forgotten these days.
I was also surprised, how much I missed my family while being out. It’s like my heart is split into two: One half wants to travel, do field research, have adventures, go surfing, skate, be free. The other one does not want to do anything without these two beautiful women in my life and just be with them!!! The first time I had Moana, my 1.5 y old daughter on the phone, I almost cried. I felt my heart so much, happiness, nervousness, pain, but also excitement, it was really something new that I discovered. People change, and so do I. I am happy about the fact that my body and mind give me those signals and makes me realize what is really important in life!!!
Stay positive, strong and happy! Mati